(North Adams, Massachusetts) Residents and visitors alike will be able to take in the Mass MoCA galleries free of charge on Saturday, February 11, 2012, from 11 AM – 8 PM at the museum’s annual Free Day, this year sponsored by Carr Hardware and Berkshire Gas. In addition to complimentary gallery admission, Mass MoCA is offering an impressive full day of activities, performances, and tours, a Mermaid Parade, and even an Elevator Music Festival. Free tours will leave from the lobby every 30 minutes starting at 11:00 AM with the last tour leaving at 6:00 PM. And it will all be capped off by a paid event, one of their sensational dance parties.
“This is one of our favorite days of the year. Encouraging new visitors to give us a try, welcoming back old friends, and thanking our neighbors for their continued support is a delight. We’re pleased that FREE Day visitors will be among the first folks to see our brand new Sanford Biggers installation in Building 5 which will have just opened on February 5.” – Joe Thompson, Mass MoCA Director
Mermaids and Mermen, oh my!
Get your costumes ready, it’s your turn to join the parade. Inspired by Kidspace’s Under the Sea exhibition, the Mermaid Parade is sure to be a highlight of the day. At 2:30 kids and adults will gather outside Kidspace and then, led by local musicians, parade through the museum either garbed as sea creatures/mermaids /mermen or carrying their own handcrafted fish inspired by James Grashow’s colorful cardboard creations in Under the Sea. The parade will end in Building 5 where prizes will be awarded in a variety of categories for both costumes and fish.
Mini Concerts of Elevator Music
The “Elevator Music Festival” will offer visitors a unique experience in the large Building 4 elevator. Throughout the day musicians will perform for an intimate (and changing) audience as the elevator moves between floors. These mini-concerts will transform an unconventional space into a pleasant listening experience. The complete schedule will be posted on the website.
Art-making activities and performances in the galleries will be offered throughout the day. Prompted by Oded Hirsch’s video Tochka in The Workers, visitors will find materials to build a bridge from toothpicks and modeling clay on the first floor. The work of local artist Mary Lum Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor will be the jumping-off point for a community wall installation in the Tall Gallery. Three community art projects will reinterpret Sol LeWitt wall drawings, and patrons can even get their LeWitt on by visiting the LeWitt-inspired face-painting station.
Berkshire Dance Theatre
Other activities include dance performances by members of the Berkshire Dance Theatre and local college and high school students. Those wanting to dance themselves rather than just watch dance will have the chance to learn some ’80s dance moves in preparation for the evening’s dance party at two workshops in the rehearsal hall taught by Emily Evans.
Free Cake, too
Complimentary slices of Lickety Split’s signature carrot cake will be available at 1, 2, and 3 PM in the lobby. Lickety will have a delicious affordable menu all day featuring a sandwich, wrap, or salad with a cookie and bottle of water for just $8.50. In the evening they’ll offer a special fried chicken dinner for just $10 at the dance party.
Dance Party (Not Free) Closes the Day
Visitors can expect an explosion of energy across a crowded dance floor in MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center starting at 8, as Gordon Voidwell brings out the “fun” in funk, rehashing the retro sounds of Prince and The Tom Tom Club while infusing them with a fresh indie sound. Voidwell’s music is described as “electro-fantastic…hip-hop-esque [and] yacht-rockin’” on his official bio. Chris Douridas, a music supervisor at Southern California’s leading National Public Radio affiliate KCRW, elaborates on the various influences that come into play for Voidwell’s blend of synth funk: “[He] delivers off-your-head, funk-fused, unabashed fun… as if Prince took away the remote from TV on the Radio and played monkey in the middle.”
The dance party, sponsored by Carr Hardware, starts at 8 PM with 30 minutes of dance instruction arranged by Jacob’s Pillow. Doors to the dance party will open at 7 P.M. with drinks and food available from Lickety Split. Tickets for the Synth Funk Dance Party are free for children under twelve. For adults, tickets are $15 in advance and $19 the day of the show. Student tickets are $10. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams, open from 11 A.M. to 5 P.M. (closed Tuesdays).
About Mass MoCA
Mass MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings. MASS MoCA is an independent 501c(3) whose operations and programming are funded through admissions and commercial lease revenue, corporate and foundation grants, and individual philanthropy. Except for an initial construction grant from the Commonwealth, and competitive program and operations grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MASS MoCA is privately funded: 90% of annual operating revenues are from earned revenues, membership support, and private gifts and grants.